For growing ranks of pagans, October 31 means a lot more than Halloween
A pagan altar constructed for Samhain, the pagan new year, which is October 31.
October 31st, 2011
09:54 AM ET

For growing ranks of pagans, October 31 means a lot more than Halloween

By Susanne Gargiulo, Special to CNN

As pumpkins, witches and faux cobwebs have taken over much of North America for Halloween, Clare Slaney-Davis is preparing an October 31 feast that some would consider much spookier, with table settings for her grandparents, a great-aunt and other relatives who have passed away.

As she and her living guests eat, they'll share stories and memories of loved ones they've lost.

The Christian debate over Halloween

Slaney-Davis, who is based in London, isn't preparing the feast for Halloween. Instead, she and pagans around the world are celebrating Samhain, the beginning of the pagan new year, a night when the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead is believed to be the thinnest of any time during the year.

That's why it's a night devoted to ancestors. "We honor them, and we recognize that we don't live in a world of people who are merely dead or alive," says Slaney-Davis, 46. "Ancestors are central to us."

Along with the Catholic holiday All Saints' Day, Samhain is considered an ancient forerunner of Halloween. Samhain began as a Celtic celebration marking the end of harvest and the beginning of winter's hardship.

Today, pagans play down the Halloween-Samhain connection. But the growing popularity of the pagan new year in Europe and North America is part of what many experts say is a global revival of paganism.

Slaney-Davis, who trained as a witch and a druid, says her religion has nothing to do with ghosts and ghouls. "To me, being a pagan means being in divine balance with nature and being responsible for my actions," she says. "I understand that my behavior has an effect on people I don't even know exist. It is not a theology of perfection but one of belonging."

Over-the-top jack-o'-lanterns

But it is a theology that's gaining ground. According to the 2008 American Religious Identification Survey, the number of members of "other religions" or "new religious movements," categories that include pagans, more than doubled between 1990 and 2008, to 2.8 million.

The survey, conducted byTrinity College in Connecticut, reported that the numbers of Wiccans and neo-pagans had also doubled in that time.

Contemporary pagan religions like Wicca and druidism are considered neo-pagan movements.

"(Paganism) is one of the fastest growing religions in the world," says Michael York, a retired religious scholar from Bath Spa University in the UK. "True numbers are impossible to come by because many people are wary to admit they are pagan, and reliable statistics just don't exist."

Movies that scare the people who scare us

While paganism covers a range of individual religious groups, including Wicca, druidism, and shamanism, they're bound by some common denominators, such as roots in ancient, pre-Christian beliefs, and their view of nature and the whole physical world as sacred.

"In traditional religions you have a conflict between God and nature," says York. "But for pagans, nature becomes the truest expression of the divine."

That, he says, is a big reason why paganism is seeing a revival: "If nothing else, because of the impending destruction of our environment, and our focus on finding a way to live in balance with nature."

Another key pagan belief is the freedom for each person to determine his or her own way to and view of the divine. "Paganism doesn't put restrictions on what you can and cannot believe," says Jason Pitzl-Waters, co-founder of the Pagan Newswire Collective and the pagan blog The Wild Hunt. "It grows out of an ethos that there isn't just one sacred way to understand the world."

But that lack of dogma has become something of a stumbling block for the movement. "Because paganism is very individual, it creates the problem of not having a unified voice, because nobody speaks for the movement as a whole," says York.

Another problem pagans face is one of image: For centuries, including during the Roman Catholic inquisition, pagans were denounced as heretics and devil-worshippers.

"One of our greatest challenges is to overcome the hostility of groups that still see us as evil," says Pitzl-Waters. "To some conservative Christian groups, we are an early warning sign of societal collapse."

Just last week, an opinion column in The Christian Post, an online newspaper, warned that the "dark festival" of Samhain is an invitation to the devil. The column said that "even though you don't consciously call upon Satan, his demons are nevertheless present any time a Wiccan goes through a spiritual door by using magic." It calls on Wiccans to ask forgiveness for their sins and to turn to Jesus.

"Part of what is scary for conservative religions is that as a pagan, I consider myself part of the divine," says Holli S. Emore, executive director at South Carolina's Cherry Hill Seminary, which has one of the world's first graduate-level programs for pagan ministry. "That means God lives in me, and that is blasphemous to some. To me, it's a big responsibility to do good and act right."

Scholars say that the neo-pagan view of God being everywhere and in everything is not a foreign idea on the global religious stage. "Much of modern paganism looks to older religions like Shinto, Hinduism and indigenous religions, which see spirit in everything," says Jenny Blain, senior lecturer in sociology at Sheffield Hallam University in England and author of several books on paganism.

"If you add all those to modern paganism, that is a considerable part of the world that does not live with traditional Abrahamic views," she says.

There are signs that paganism is gaining some acceptance in the nonpagan world. For the first time last year, the government of Britain recognized druidism, an ancient pagan belief system, as a religion.

"People either see paganism as dangerous or as a joke," says Pitzl-Waters. "But it is a serious global movement. Paganism has arrived as a world religion. It's not just a bunch of counterculture types playing witchcraft games."

That said, traditional witchcraft rituals, like gathering in circles and uttering spells, have an important place in modern paganism, which further unsettles more traditional religious believers.

"Because Christianity is more conservative, anything seen as supernatural or magic automatically becomes of the devil," says York. "Because of that dichotomy, paganism is automatically seen as satanic."

"People fear what they don't understand," says Emore. "But spells are basically prayers with props. What we call magic is the intentional use of power to achieve change, and just like with prayer, what you are doing is tapping into an inner resource. Gathering in a circle and acknowledging the four elements is nothing new - this is something Native Americans and many ancient nature-based religious people did as well."

For neo-pagans, the four elements - earth, air, water and fire - are closely linked to their view of a sacred planet. "The attributes associated with each element become tools in our meditation and in practices such as spells," says Emore. "Water is associated with emotions and intuition, air with intellect and communications, earth with foundation and stability, and fire with passion and action."

To York, paganism's ancient rituals also help bring a sense of enchantment back into life.

"The ancients had a sense of the magical, but with Christianity came a diminishment," he says. "The magical was denied, everything became inanimate, and from a pagan perspective we lost our connection with the sacred. I think we are rediscovering that now."

"Pagans understand there comes a winter, which is a time to ready for rebirth," York says. "For us, the last 2000 years has been the pagan winter."

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Halloween • Paganism • Uncategorized

soundoff (1,367 Responses)
  1. ladysirocco

    Jesus was not a white dude...with long dirty blond hair...That would be the Celtic, Norse ,Germanic,Gauls ect. peoples who have suffered a bloody history of forced conversion all in the name of a desert peoples God of love. WHAT? So fear and force is love?"principles of Christianity"?You mean hate and intolerance? Killing in the name of the Lord? You think Jesus is pleased with this? Well as Mark Twain put it "Christianity would be a good religion if anyone actually practiced it" one has to wonder of the belief people have if they need to threaten people" believe as we do or die" and then roast in hell.This is not your call. Why, should it matter to you ? Judgement is something for God to handle and ONLY GOD,you do not get a vote.

    November 1, 2012 at 8:11 am |
  2. ladysirocco

    "History, I believe furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes."–Thomas Jefferson Letter of December 6, 1813 to Alexander von Humbolt.
    Corporations have neither bodies to be punished nor souls to be damned.

    November 1, 2012 at 7:30 am |
  3. fromthe realworld

    youre all living in the matrix. Not one of you will agree because youre all asleep, oblivious to reality, plugged in to give your master, the puppet master, power.

    October 7, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
  4. Leodious

    Samhain isn't the same as Halloween. Halloween gets its origin from Samhain, but Samhain is a cross quarter day, and does not always fall on October 31. Arbitrary calendar days for holidays are what religions do, and when you are honoring the natural order of the world, man-made measurements of time mean nothing.

    January 22, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
  5. KMD

    God, Miracles and Magic are words we apply to things we do not understand. We are entering a new age, an age of wisdom and understanding. Soon LHC (large Hadron Collider) will open a whole new realm of mystery and magic of parallel universes and the wisdom of the gods will be open to us. The world of Harry Potter could become a reality and we can once again understand the power of the mind and the worship of Paganism.

    November 3, 2011 at 9:25 pm |
  6. Kaziel

    Oh wow I couldn't even get through the comments without laughing I didn't even get to the first half a page haha people argueing are fun to watch
    Blessed be )O(

    November 3, 2011 at 9:39 am |
  7. Robert

    This whole Paganism thing is almost funny to me for a lot of reasons. First, Paganism itself is not a religion. It is a blanket term for all Pre-Christian polytheistic religions. Second, like it or not, the Catholic church did a pretty thorough job or eradicating any pagan religions across Europe. So outside of some pagan vestiges like Halloween, May day, and the non church related practices of Easter there are no actual direct lines of pagans in Europe from 2,000 years ago to now. So any pagan practices being done now are based off of historical accounts of pagans written by non pagans. Finally, historical pagan beliefs and practices are significantly different than how people like to view them today. Yes, I am talking about animal sacrifices, massive bonfires, and in general some very public demonstrations of faith that most modern Western people are very uncomfortable with. So by all mean people, give paganism a try. You will end up making just as little sense as every other religion out there.

    November 3, 2011 at 9:28 am |
    • Kaziel

      actually many pagans survived and went underground and also in places where the reaches of the catholic church did not get
      For example a whole other half Europe two whole continents on the other side of the ocean etc
      Paganism was driven into near extinction by it's brother religion that came from the same roots but it was not at all eradicated
      The irony find is Christians were persecuted by the Roman empire before the rule of Constantine and then during the burning times persecuted witches and pagans (aswell as non-pagans for corrupted reasons)
      An oximoron and hypocritical religion

      November 3, 2011 at 9:47 am |
    • Desiree

      Paganism is still an umbrella term for various religions, both ancient and modern. The article is not using the term accurately (there are other inconsistencies too). You are also correct in that Christianity nearly wiped out most of the indigenous European religions. Moderns Pagans do not have a direct, unbroken line of succession to our spiritual ancestors – most of us are pretty honest about that and we see ourselves as being revivalists and reconstructionists. And yes, we understand that many of our current practices are not exactly like what was once practiced.There are differing degrees of interest and emphasis in cultural and historical accuracy depending upon the Pagan path one is investigating. While we all take some inspiration from ancient paganisms, there are some groups who are deeply dedicated to studying the primary texts and archaeological records of their chosen cultural framework to try to make their paths as close to their spiritual ancestors as reasonably possible in the modern world – this includes the use of bonfires and occasionally animal sacrifice. However, Paganisms are organic religions and even if Christianity hadn't succeeded in eradicating most traces of historical Pagansims, they would not be the same today as they were centuries ago. We are interesting in living religious traditions, not just historical reenactment.

      November 3, 2011 at 11:15 am |
    • David

      Native Americans have been maintaining their beliefs just fine despite persecution.

      November 4, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
    • Michelle

      Please cite your sources. I'd love to be able to read up on facts and statistics you've stated. Thanks!

      November 7, 2011 at 7:01 am |
  8. Brandon

    Whoever thinks there are only four elements is a complete moron and by the way water, earth, fire and air aren't even elements however the things that make up water earth and air are elements. As for fire, well that's an exothermic reaction, a release of energy. In itself fire can't even be called a molecular composition. So to all you pagans out there maybe you should have paid attention in science! I'm fourteen years old and know more than you fools.

    November 3, 2011 at 1:22 am |
    • Snow

      Now here is a boy with a bright future.. now Brandon, please don't go on and become a Christian..

      November 3, 2011 at 3:10 am |
    • Kaziel


      a: any of the four substances air, water, fire, and earth formerly believed to compose the physical universe
      Definition of Elements in Websters dictionary

      November 3, 2011 at 9:42 am |
    • Desiree

      Hi Brandon,

      When certain Pagans say there are 4 elements, they are not speaking of the same elements as on the periodic table. We are talking about spiritual/symbolic elements, not literal scientific ones.

      November 3, 2011 at 10:20 am |
    • steve

      This is barely worth responding too other than to say you need to think before you speak.

      November 5, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
    • Brian

      Liquid, solid, gas, plasma....

      January 13, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
    • tequila

      You may be partially right but we don't really understand energy. we can use it in solving other stuff but to define energy itself is well..... beyond our reach besides saying particles move faster. Our elements are symbolic and taking energy and putting them into four main groups. I am 14 too.

      January 10, 2013 at 8:25 pm |
  9. Frank Zappa

    Hello. This is the Central Scrutinizer....again. I see many of you are using my songs as names to post your beliefs.....just know this, I hate Christians and they can go and blow themselves. Now.....we have to understand why Catholic Girls are so promiscuous. amd why the priests are all Gay Pedophiles. I am investigating this. It is not pleasent but someone has to do it. Excuse me, but my friend the Illinois Enema Bandit is calling from prison....

    November 2, 2011 at 1:02 am |
    • tallulah13

      With leather..???....

      November 2, 2011 at 1:05 am |
    • Frank Zappa

      with leather.

      November 2, 2011 at 1:08 am |
  10. Boonuz

    Are some of you people crazy ?

    November 2, 2011 at 12:39 am |
    • Alien Orifice

      I am quite sure we are all crazy. You too. Why do you ask?

      November 2, 2011 at 12:44 am |
  11. Heathen in NC

    ATTN: Christian bigots (specifically, good ol' LIEberals LIE)

    Your god is a petty and vindictive child, much like you are. Your Bible commands that you witness to the world, but it also tells you that you don't stay where you are not welcome and it does not enjoin you to force your beliefs on others. Perhaps you should read your Bible for once, instead of showing your amazing lack of intellect.

    November 2, 2011 at 12:27 am |
    • Boonuz

      Heathen , "You will find out on the day you go to hide in an inner room."

      November 2, 2011 at 12:50 am |
    • Alien Orifice


      READ?? Christians can't read can they? I thought the were all illiterate. My bad.

      November 2, 2011 at 12:51 am |
    • Michelle

      This type of venom directed at other faiths is why those who call themselves Pagan find it hard to be accepted. There is no room in the Divine for hate. No matter how you label your relationship with that Divine ... Pagan, Christian, Hindu, ... It's all a path to God and that's what really matters.

      November 7, 2011 at 7:05 am |
  12. Sheik Yerbouti

    Why do atheists keep saying the earth is only 6,000 years old? The heavenly father created adam on the 6th day, or year 6,000. geaneaology from adam to Jesus is about 4000 years and from jesus to now is 2000 years.That makes everything from creation till now 12000 years. That means the atheists don't know what they're talking about and never have. Just another hole in your lousy theory atheists.

    November 2, 2011 at 12:15 am |
    • tallulah13

      This doesn't sound like the original poster who uses the name Sheik Yerbouti. In fact, I bet this person doesn't even know the source of the name "Sheik Yerbouti". With the anonymity of these message boards, it takes a true coward to use the screen name of another poster.

      November 2, 2011 at 12:19 am |
    • Alien Orifice

      @Fake Sheik
      Tell that to the people who came out of Africa 200,000 years ago moron.

      November 2, 2011 at 12:25 am |
    • Sheik Yerbouti

      Sheik Yerbouti is a play on shake yer booty. The other guy or girl is the fake.

      November 2, 2011 at 12:36 am |
    • Sheik Yerbouti

      Were you in Africa 200000 years ago? Didn't think so.

      November 2, 2011 at 12:37 am |
    • Alien Orifice

      @fake Sheik (hey that rhymes!)
      Oh, and show me an athiest who thinks the Earth is anything less than 4.5 BILLION years old. What the fuk are you talking about. You are dumb as a stump man.

      November 2, 2011 at 12:37 am |
    • Alien Orifice

      Ok fake Sheik, where did Sheik Yerbouti come from? (We all know you are fake so no need to pretend dumb-ass)

      November 2, 2011 at 12:40 am |
    • Alien Orifice

      @fake sheik
      Fake Sheik said, "Were you in Africa 200000 years ago? Didn't think so."

      Let's see, I am in my forties so I am thinking.....nope wasn't there then. Your point??? Dumba-ss

      November 2, 2011 at 12:49 am |
    • tallulah13

      "Sheik Yerbouti is a play on shake yer booty. The other guy or girl is the fake."

      Wrong. You obviously don't know, and I won't tell you. Silly prat. Find a name of your own, you coward.

      November 2, 2011 at 1:02 am |
    • Primewonk

      Your problem is that we have actual evidence that the universe is 13.7 billion years old, that the earth is 4.5 billion years old, and that modern humans have been here for over 200,000 years.

      This is simply yet another thing your god got wrong.

      November 2, 2011 at 8:31 am |
    • Sheik Yerbouti

      Prove god wrong.

      November 2, 2011 at 7:28 pm |
    • 808Guest

      Prove the bible right. You are the one that is claiming that you know the truth. The burden of proof is on you. As for claims that the earth is more than 12,000 years old, ever hear of carbon dating? Try not being so close minded and read something not published by the Flat Earth Society.

      November 2, 2011 at 8:36 pm |
    • Mychele

      I daresay the many present incarnations of the Sheik were also not present 200,000 years ago.
      So, Mexican standoff there, your Sheikness.

      January 1, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
  13. Josiah

    Revelation 22:17 The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.
    Genesis 1:26 Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground."
    We not only have God the Father but we also have God the Mother.

    November 1, 2011 at 10:27 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Do you have a beard? You aren't one of those beard cutter dudes are you? What in GOD's name are you talking about and why?

      November 1, 2011 at 11:01 pm |
    • debra gallehawk

      GOD dont have a mother , you are sadly mistaken
      JESUS is LORD !! period there is no Earth mother
      Jesus said I am the Way the Truth and the Life Noone come to the father but through me only !
      your earth mother will not give you Eternal life
      or save your soul , it did not die on a cross crucified shed blood for your sins
      only JESUS did that .
      dont believe a lie my friend , Jesus is the only way!!

      November 2, 2011 at 8:45 am |
    • NHTK - 111

      @Debra Gallehawk
      Well said!
      The Truth can't ever be changed!

      November 2, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
  14. Sheik Yerbouti

    I am thjinking about contacting my senator and asking them to introduce a bill that would ban all religions from public places. Einstein hated christians and now I see why

    November 1, 2011 at 7:07 pm |
    • Sheik Yerbouti

      The above post is not mine. My stalker is back. No more posts from the Sheik today.

      November 1, 2011 at 8:26 pm |
    • hippypoet

      i like that post thou... i agree with it... its your other posts i thought were a bit un-you...check out other articels, the dude was all over.

      November 1, 2011 at 8:28 pm |
    • Sheik Yerbouti

      Ok then, the Sheik is back for one more post. I love this one, now I am out:

      "I cannot imagine a God who rewards and punishes the objects of his creation, whose purposes are modeled after our own – a God, in short, who is but a reflection of human frailty. It is enough for me to contemplate the mystery of conscious life perpetuating itself through all eternity, to reflect upon the marvelous structure of the universe which we can dimly perceive and to try humbly to comprehend even an infinitesimal part of the intelligence manifested in Nature."


      November 1, 2011 at 9:43 pm |
    • hippypoet

      dude, that was perfectly worded. I bow in a deliciously pure state of joy knowing that others will read this and take in weather on purpose or not the deliciously perfectly worded message that was truth.


      November 1, 2011 at 9:49 pm |
    • Sheik Yerbouti

      Weather? You should stay away from theological discussions and anything else that requires your grammatical input.

      November 1, 2011 at 11:29 pm |
    • Sheik Yerbouti

      Naturally, you know the above post was not from me. And I am glad you like the post HP. I have a lot of respect for you.

      November 1, 2011 at 11:55 pm |
    • Sheik Yerbouti

      The post above directly above this one here is not mine. I said I wouldn't post again.

      November 2, 2011 at 12:05 am |
    • Alien Orifice

      @Fake Sheik
      Wow, you really dislike the Sheik. Why is that? I find the Sheik funny and intelligent, unlike you low-life. Please explain.

      November 2, 2011 at 12:22 am |
    • Sheik Yerbouti

      Thanks for the insults. Takes a real man to insult someone over the net.

      November 2, 2011 at 12:38 am |
    • Alien Orifice

      Well you are quite welcome FAKE SHEIK. Let me also say that you are stupid, ignorant, uneducated, smelly and dumb. Oh, and yourfeet smell. Really bad. Amen.

      November 2, 2011 at 1:22 am |
    • Sheik Yerbouti

      A child with a foot fetish. Good for you.


      November 2, 2011 at 7:29 pm |
  15. The good christian

    May the god bless the entire universe.. except...

    .. those pagens..
    .. or those muslims..
    .. or those hindus.. or taoists.. just make it all those who follow other religions
    .. or those athiests.. those are the worst..
    .. or those aliens, if they ever exist on other planets .. they were not made in god's image..
    .. or those animals.. they were never baptised.. no animal formally accepted christ as their savior..
    .. or those mormons..
    .. or those protestents.. just all the other sub christian sects that I am not part of..
    .. or those people who follow the other political party .. they are a disgrace to my sect..
    .. or those people who make more money than me.. they should give more..
    .. or those neighbors whose dog keeps barking at night and keeping me awake..
    .. Just keep it to me and my relatives..
    .. on second thoughts.. just keep it to me and my family..

    but.. god bless them all and show them light ! we are the most tolerant people in the existence who accept everyone!!

    November 1, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
    • hippypoet

      🙁 judge not... now i am crying...your a meanie head! i shall see you in hell. 🙂

      November 1, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
    • The good christian

      Join us there hippy.. we got cookies..


      November 1, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
    • Sheik Yerbouti

      I am with you on the dog thing GC.

      November 1, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
    • hippypoet

      from what i hear from my religious friends, they say that the devil has cookies as you say but he keeps all the milk for himself! granted i am totally lactose intolent he may share with me 🙂

      November 1, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      See HP, this is just another thinnly-veiled attempt to bogart the glenfiddich 50. Shame on you.

      November 1, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
    • hippypoet

      dude, as i said, if i had a 50 year old bottle of glenfiddich, i wouldn't share with anyone but maybe my wife – and thats a big maybe! i'll buy her some baileys to keep her happy!

      November 1, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
    • Sheik Yerbouti

      Lactose intolerance is a sign of the down syndrome gene.

      November 1, 2011 at 6:49 pm |
    • Sheik Yerbouti

      The above post is not mine. My stalker is back. No more posts from the Sheik today!

      November 1, 2011 at 8:27 pm |
  16. Sheik Yerbouti

    Be not be a fool! Follow the HippyPoet's teachings! Warm yourself in the light of the ALMIGHTY SUN! Get naked (ok, I threw that in) and lather yourself generously with SPF 50. DANCE, DANCE and be free!! The HippyPoet will share his Glenfiddich 50 with us all (you will share, right HP?) and pass the herbal blessings, always to the left of course. Now...GO and live and worship in the light of the GLORIOUS SUN!

    November 1, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
    • hippypoet

      whoa... when the hell did i say anyone but me could have my glenfiddich 50... if i even had a bottle that old i wouldn't tell anyone!!! but a bottle of 18 year old sure! i'll share that. 🙂

      November 1, 2011 at 3:17 pm |
    • Sheik Yerbouti

      Can't blame a guy for trying....

      November 1, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
    • Yuk

      "glenfiddich 50."

      Yuk, don't like scotch....how about some Patron silver?

      November 1, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
    • Sheik Yerbouti

      Patron is good too! I might even be able to afford that.

      November 1, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
    • Yuk

      If you bring the Patron, I'll bring the cram crackers, marshmallows and chocolate! Oh wait....we need a fire for that.... 😉

      November 1, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
    • hippypoet

      i can drink pretty much anything but teguila is just nasty.... Patron is however the best of the nasty i have had, and i can polish a bottle if i am already drunk...otherwise i am not even going near it! Scotch since 22 till the day i die!

      November 1, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      I will bring the Mad Dog 20/20!

      November 1, 2011 at 3:41 pm |
    • Sheik Yerbouti

      Wait there is something missing here....oh yeah....Rainer! Rainer what the HELL are you bringing GOD-DAMIT. You are not just gonna mooch of the rest of us mister!!

      November 1, 2011 at 3:42 pm |
    • Father O'blivion

      I'll be bringin' me Irish Whiskey. I get a might frisky after a few nips but I will try to keep my collar on. Bless ya all then.

      November 1, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
    • hippypoet

      Irish Whiskey is fine, just leave the american burbon at home...thats a tainted brew on the perfection that is whiskey, even thou i prefer scotch over true whiskey, i was born a whiskey drinker, i EVOLVED into a scotch lover! single malt only if you please! i only blend when i am beyond reasonings and want a new taste. normally ends badly.

      November 1, 2011 at 3:50 pm |
    • Father O'blivion

      Well son, I have had a few nights like that me-self now, I must confess.

      November 1, 2011 at 3:57 pm |
    • Sheik Yerbouti

      All of my friends with down syndrome love scotch

      November 1, 2011 at 6:50 pm |
    • Sheik Yerbouti

      The above post is not mine. My stalker is back. No more posts from me today.

      November 1, 2011 at 8:29 pm |
  17. Father O'blivion

    Sooo my sons and daughters, who got the most candy then? Here's hope'n ya had a fine time last night. Bless ya all.

    Except for that LIEberals LIE/X-person....that one it is a bit light in the head I must say. Not a smart one.

    November 1, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
  18. Regina

    Results are also connected with paganism/Wicca/Witchcraft...it is belief that drives the cure or the fulfillment of a wish. How can you believe that god created a world and not be a part of it? What about communion, where it is believed that you take god into you? There are many discrepancies between words and acts in Christianity (look at some of the fundamentalist Republicans for example) just as there are in other religions because in spite of having the Creator within us, we are all still human. It is not one religion that makes things possible, it is a part of all belief systems, including Witchcraft (which does not recognize that Satan exists, by the way, for those who don't know this.).

    November 1, 2011 at 11:14 am |
    • clay

      "How can you believe that god created a world and not be a part of it?" He is part of it. The fact that you refuse to see him is hardly his fault.
      "What about communion, where it is believed that you take god into you?" What about it? Can you be a bit more specific...
      "There are many discrepancies between words and acts in Christianity" That's an easy one. "For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." Being Christian doesn't mean being perfect. It just means we have a reason to try.
      "It is not one religion that makes things possible" And I'm sure it's Atheism that does. I'll say it again, Being Christian doesn't make you perfect, it just gives you a reason to try. You'll certainly fail, but you ought to at least try.

      November 1, 2011 at 12:11 pm |
    • Dawn

      Thank you Regina...being Wiccan myself, many people I guess I would say fear and discredit what they don't understand by making false accusations and drawing wrong conclusions....

      November 1, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
    • claybigsby

      "Being Christian doesn't mean being perfect. It just means we have a reason to try."

      Yeah but if you believe your bible is the word of god, the bible should be perfect, no? oh its not? Cause MAN WROTE THE BIBLE.

      November 1, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
    • John Richardson

      Yo, Clay! Here's a useful step for trying to be "perfect": STFU about things you don't know the first thing about!

      November 1, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
  19. hippypoet

    @ Rainer Braendlein –
    from the convo on the other page –
    look, in truth...no one can truly grasp at the full meaning of those books unless they themselves are those who wrote it. The numbers 666 are an exact fit to the full name of the emperor nero, and the books can be dated to that time period... so this is just a deduction but it is a widely accecpted view by most historians and scholars of the bible. Your view is one of a fitting nature, you see a time in history that fits some of what is in the book and then claim the prophecy is taking place now...like the end times last week – yeah cause we are all dead right now! I look at historic evidence and timeline, with the understandings of those alive at the time of origin...in this case – shortly after the life of jesus but after the revolt of the jews which brought the destruction of the 2nd temple. fits perfectly with nero as the anti christ in the eyes of those who were being killed by him as scape goats for the fire that burnt rome! as nero fiddled some say!

    November 1, 2011 at 11:09 am |
    • hippypoet

      i meant to say – shortly after the life of jesus AND after the revolt of the jews.... sry

      November 1, 2011 at 11:10 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein


      Search a little in the internet and you will figure out that, spiritually seen, not Nero was particularly wicked, but Domitian. Domitian demanded to be called "Dominus et Deus", that means Lord and God.

      Thus, John, who drafted the Revelation, probably refered to Domitian, when he spoke of Satan's Throne in Pergamon.

      Furthermore the Revelation was drafted, when Domitian was emperor. This is a strong pointer that he was meant. Nero ordered solely a local limited persecution in Rome, but Domitian persecuted everybody in the Roman Empire, who did not worship him.

      November 1, 2011 at 11:50 am |
    • hippypoet

      look, if you really wanna keep going back and forth thats fine, but history is built upon faces while we are discussing a man who had a trippy vision and wrote about it while still trippin. The only facts that can be looked at are these... the emperor Nero started his reign by killing the jews for the burning of rome... at this time in history, jews and christians are seen as the same because they are infact the same cultural people, but believe differently. Then we have emperor T!tus who during a revolt by the jews destorys the 2nd temple and then orders all jews out of the land of Judea and Galilee... it is at this point that christians start calling themselves that in order to show that there is a difference between jews and them... it was just a tactic to not be punished! ok so the year is circa 73 ad and the jews have been scattered, skip ahead to year 81 ad and emperor Domitian is in power, what he does is out of fear of death – exerp from a page i lost years ago, but i have it saved on my hard drive at home – For years the emperor Domitian knew exactly when he was going to be murdered: 18 September 96 A.D. during the 5th morning hour.

      When, as a young man, he refused a dish a mushrooms his father the emperor Vespasian joked that it was more in keeping with his destiny for him to be afraid of swords. The historian Suetonius confirms: “Astrological predictions had long since warned him in what year and day he would die; they even specified the hour and manner.”1

      No wonder Domitian was gloomy, humorless and paranoid. As the fateful year approached he became increasingly anxious. He had the walls of his exercise room lined with highly polished moonstone to watch what was going on behind his back. With the help of his astrologers he pored over the horoscopes of Rome’s most powerful men, sniffing out potential regicides. He even exiled and then executed his trusted secretary Epaphroditus because the scribe had helped Nero commit suicide 27 years before.

      "Domitian was deeply conflicted about astrology. He believed in it but he also hoped its predictions could be avoided if preventative actions were taken. To prove the point, the day before his assassination he commanded the astrologer Ascletario to predict the manner of his own death. When the astrologer forecast that he was fated to be torn to pieces by dogs, Domitian had him executed on the spot and thrown on a funeral pyre. A rainstorm scattered the servants supervising the cremation and doused the fire. The roasted corpse was torn to pieces by a pack a scavenging dogs, just as the astrologer had predicted."

      So you can see how such a parinoid man could have made such predictions known to the empire and lead john while tripping on a path of preconceived thought... have you ever tripped out before – it happens like this, your thoughts at the time of the trip make your trip... if the year of prediction of the death of Domitian was 96 and the year john wrote it was 96... he could have been thinking of the prediciton made by the astro-dude seconds before enhaling the fumes that enduced the trip, afterall he was in a cave! As for john himself, he was still jew, and using hebrew to write – he therefore would have known that 666 equals the name for Nero and wrote it to make a statement against the romans in general by calling one of there rulers who had done the worse things to jews the anti christ! The killing that Domitian did was as you said, everyone, but the jews had already been exiled from where they were living, so he was killing people...not just jews, or christians, or scythians....just people! Nero was the murderer of jews in the jewish eyes! sry for the length.

      November 1, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
    • bridging the gap

      i have to agree with Hippypoet, he has a greadt knowledge of the time and from what i gather from other websites, it would appear that even the jews of the period agree with him! sry Rainer.

      November 1, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
    • hippypoet

      thank you bridge... i try.

      November 1, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
    • Sheik Yerbouti

      Splendid, idiots arguing semantics about something that doesn't matter.

      November 1, 2011 at 6:54 pm |
  20. Rainer Braendlein


    Within the Christian Church miracles still happen, whereby the cure is usually connected with the confession of sins. Someone, who receives forgiveness by the Lord, can receive cure at the same time. There is a famous sermon about this issue by pastor Dr. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, called "I am the Lord, your physician." (you may have a look on my website http://confessingchurch.wordpress.com)

    November 1, 2011 at 10:56 am |
    • tallulah13

      Check this link if you want to see how many "cures" these particular christians receive through prayer:


      November 1, 2011 at 11:05 am |
    • hippypoet

      miracles still happen... really? having a person claim to be saved is not a miracle...a true miracle is something that is not just a thought, but an action...like walking on water! the so called power to save is nothing but the power of persuasion and a willingness to be "saved". a.k.a. its all in the head.

      November 1, 2011 at 11:08 am |
    • John Richardson

      Why do you spout such lies, Rainer?

      November 1, 2011 at 11:10 am |
    • AGuest9

      @John Richardson, because these sad, delusional people actually BELIEVE this stuff.

      November 1, 2011 at 12:01 pm |
    • Free

      'Miracles' cure people at about the same rate as placebos do, and for the exact same reasons.

      November 1, 2011 at 6:52 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Jesus says,

      But there are some of you who do not believe.

      Not believing dictates not understanding.

      2 Corinthians 4:4


      November 1, 2011 at 9:52 pm |
    • hippypoet

      OH REALLY, "Not believing dictates not understanding." this says that if you believe you understand...well why then do all you christian morons preach that your god is beyond understandablity – outside our understanding? do you all that claim to believe not believe at all?

      or are you just so beyond dumb that you believe you understand and therefore believe but in reality have no idea whats going on and are just afraid of saying it out loud. basically a fear of a lack of control. See, you people place power in the hands of "jesus" or "god" when infact you have no power to place power in anyone or anything... its all a sense of control that you long for and you need to accecpt that you have no power but to accecpt and you have accecpted an idea of lunacy! 🙂 be good and get an afterlife! children's adult dessert! so sad!

      November 1, 2011 at 10:03 pm |
    • tallulah13

      HS, I guess you didn't check out my link. Let me recap it for you:

      The Followers of Christ is a cult that exists in a suburb of Portland, Oregon. They don't believe in doctors. They believe in prayer and in anointing an afflicted individual with oil. As a result of this belief, they have a cemetery full of children who have died from easily curable diseases. Infant mortality is an estimated 26% over the average. Recently, two members were tried and sentenced 6 years each in jail for the death of their premature son. This child suffered for hours before finally dying. A trip to the emergency room probably would have saved the child's life, but that was forbidden by the religion.

      These people believe very deeply that prayer will work miracles. Reality proves otherwise. This is the truth: Prayer does nothing.

      November 2, 2011 at 1:45 am |
    • David

      I have no doubt that there is Christian magic that works also, but that's not to say magic from other walks of life don't also work. Everyone has their own spiritual path that works for their own personal Universe.

      November 4, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.